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Benue 2019: Voting APC will be suicidal – Apedzan, pioneer PDP secretary

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Benue 2019: Voting APC will be suicidal – Apedzan, pioneer PDP secretary

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“It’s near impossible to vote APC again. Any sane Benue person voting for APC is committing suicide given the pains we have gone through.”

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

The pioneer Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State, Mrs. Rebecca Apedzan, has said that anyone who votes for the All Progressives Congress (APC), in next year’s election is on a suicide mission.

Mrs. Apedzan, 67, a former federal lawmaker who also served as Commissioner for eight years in the administration of George Akume and had contributed immensely in the making of three governors and senators in Benue State, speaks on Benue politics and other issues of interest.

2019 general election beckons, what are your expectations?

My expectations are very high, but sorry to say, the players are not playing towards meeting my expectations. We have a federal government that is very lawless, completely lawless. One would have believed that we would have a level ground to play around with. Politics is not a war. I think everybody aspiring to be in office, aspiring to work for the society, to offer service to the society should see it that way. Unfortunately, now that politics has been commercialised, it has become a war. People who are going there to seek political offices, their supporters and all of them are playing like they are fighting war. I mean, the government keeps hammering that the election will be a free and fair; they shouted that, before Osun and Ekiti elections. But regrettably, I have not seen that free and fairness in all that happened.

In the recent primary elections, we all saw what happened. Aspirants have gone to court; some are protesting with placards, some are running all over the place across the states. Fortunately, the party I belong to, the PDP has tried as much as possible to be fair to the contestants. They have tried, I give them a pass mark but the other parties have not done that.

In Benue State, what is killing politics is non-conduct of party primaries. You sit down in your house and you write people’s names and announce. Meanwhile you asked others to buy forms and they spend lots of money to pick the forms. If I’m contesting an election and I’m defeated in the field I’ll say ‘well it is how God wants it and He doesn’t want me to be there.’ But where a primary election was not conducted and people emerge, it is very sad. Elections like that will clearly show that people who emerge will do everything to rig the general election because they are dying to have it. It is do or die for them.

Do you have any personal experience of the scenario you are painting?

In one case, a friend of mine on the other side, told me that, ‘look we did not have a primary election, but let me see how this thing is going to happen,’ and I asked him, ‘so who is going to vote, the people who are imposing this candidates, are they coming to Benue to vote? That will certainly breed chaos, they want to cause war, and they want to put Nigeria on fire.

Look at the situation we are in Nigeria today, there is poverty everywhere, people are dying, Benue State is worse off, minus issues of salaries, there is no food, we still have people in eight IDPs camps. No one is even sure that IDPs ran away from their homes with their PVCs. And with this kind of thing happening, people who have nothing to do are ready to commit any crime, because they are idle and they will be used. So I’m so scared about 2019. But I’m always prayerful, because I believe that God will hear my prayers and prayers of many, many other people that there shouldn’t be crisis because when or where they want to force their will on the people there will be crisis in Nigeria but I beg that INEC should play safe. INEC should try and be a neutral umpire that will be the only saving grace. Because from what is happening now, indications from all over the place have not shown that we are going to have a free and fair election in 2019.

Where will that take us to if elections are not free and fair?

It will take us 20 years back. You vote somebody into office today and in another two years he has built a mansion; he has done this and that. They are talking about not too young to run, the young people are also not helping matters. They promised them, they went and signed one fake law about not too young to rule. The cost of buying the forms alone shows that the youths have no room in this arena. Many of the youths have no jobs; they are not doing anything, where do they raise funds to buy those forms to start with. Now, they are not in the scheme at all. In all the primaries you hardly find the youths there. What will they do now; they will be used by people who have the money.

In Benue, some say the governorship race is going to be a two horse race between PDP and APC while some are of the view that the Pastor on PRP’s platform and Hinga Biam of the SDP should not be ruled out. How would you assess the chances of the guber candidates?

Everybody has a chance, but it depends on how they package themselves. Look, I keep telling young people and politicians that you don’t become a candidate, a leader or politician from the day you decide to contest. You must be a politician way back by your relationship with people, by your life style, where you come from, and your history makes you a good leader. You don’t come today because I am qualified and I have the certificate, I can be a leader, no. You must come from somewhere. But this is what politicians forget easily. Politicians are made, you don’t make yourself. I’m proud to say that I have made so many successful politicians in Benue State and I always go for the best.

Look I don’t want to be so personal because recently when I spoke about Emmanuel Jime the APC governorship candidate and where he is coming, I saw hell, from people who were calling me from everywhere that I was criticising him. But I’m telling the truth. I’m an old woman of over 67 years why would I be lying. Jime lost elections in 2015, he lost out at the primaries and since then he did not come back to Benue again. He was away until he wanted to contest for the governorship again. I mean, all your supporters had lost touch, had forgotten about you, they did not know whether you existed, whatever you were doing nobody knew. You had opportunity in the National Assembly, what did you do for your people? Did you even have a house in Makurdi? And you want to lead them. And you come back here because somebody wants to be vindictive on another person and he drags you to come and help them do the fight. This is the difficult the situation he is going to face.

Again, my mother comes from the Ihyarev area of the state that’s in Guma local government like Jime but Ihyarev people are in Guma, Makurdi and Gwer West, that is where my mother comes from. But by birth I’m from Gboko local government. During the 2015 election, Ihyarev people said it was the Ihyarev person that they are going to vote for, but we are not looking for a governor of Ihyarev state. We are looking for a governor of Benue State. If you insist it has to be from your lineage and only you vote for that person, will that make the person a governor? See, governance is wide, you have to relate, you have to spread out, other people will vote for you and not you voting for your person alone. So you have to reach out to others to have enough votes. If you are in this party and you say in this particular party I’ll have to vote for my own person, it is totally wrong because you obviously cannot get it.

It happened in 2015 it didn’t work and now it is happening and he is concentrating in that place it will not work because he cannot get it in that way. You have to reach out to other places. Go and listen to other local governments and hear what they are saying. We have 23 local government areas in the state, if he is concentrating in three local government areas that will certainly not make him a governor. Of course to me you will not be a good governor because of your antecedents.

So from your assessment, you don’t see the APC giving the PDP a good fight in Benue?

They will give a fight but they will not succeed. Not in Benue State, not after all that we have gone through. Not after all we have gone through in the hands of killer herdsmen and the APC government. Look, we belonged to APC and we went through that hell. If we were in another party and we suffered in the hands of APC it would have been a different story. But we belonged there, we thought we were one family and they watched us suffer. They did not only watch us suffer they contributed in us suffering in this state and we are still suffering. How would you belong to that kind of family, How? Not Benue State. APC is a joker in Benue State. My people say it is a Miyetti Allah party, I don’t want to say so, but they say so. And of course Miyetti Allah is proving it; they are sending congratulatory messages to Jime. They are saying that they would mobilise their people to come and work for Jime in Benue State and saying all sorts of things. So tell me how a sane Benue person will vote for that kind of party? We don’t want to suffer again.

If not for the Anti Open Grazing Law, many of us wouldn’t have been here today because the militant herdsmen came as close as Agbouhol village which is just few kilometers to Makurdi main town. They also came as close as Genabe, they came as close as Makurdi Industrial Layout. If not for that law I don’t know where we would have been today.

It’s near impossible to vote APC again. Any sane Benue person voting for APC is committing suicide given the pains we have gone through. Look, if you are not directly affected, your neighbour is affected; somebody from your village is affected.

The post Benue 2019: Voting APC will be suicidal – Apedzan, pioneer PDP secretary appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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